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Ls600h Review


maneesh
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Source: Honest John, http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/road_tests/index.htm?id=285

Lexus LS600h Road Test

Thu, 28 Jun 2007

Thursday 28th June 2007

“Waftastic” reads like a word Mike Myers may have invented to describe emissions from the F.B., or perhaps even a new Austin Powers cologne.

But it also aptly describes an LS 600h L, the biggest, best and so far only hybrid limousine you can buy.

It has a new 294PS 5.0 litre V8 petrol engine, a 224PS regenerative electric motor, a Battery of batteries, four-wheel drive and an epicyclic ‘CVT’ transmission.

And it is the only limousine in the world that can waft away from a kerb completely silently, emitting nothing whatsoever into city atmospheres, achieving everything Ken Livingstone apparently wants apart from an ostentatious display of hard-earned wealth.

The car arrives in the UK on 1st October and the order book for the 275 examples to reach the UK this year is already full.

Think about it for a moment. A two-and-a-half ton limo that can pull 60mph in 6 seconds, go on to an electronically limited 155mph, cruise at 112mph at just 2,000rpm, return 30.4mpg and steam in at just 219g/km CO2 so it’s also the only limo that doesn’t get hit with £400pa tax from next year.

The ‘Hybrid’ signs on the side clearly tell the public you care about the environment, perhaps not quite as much as a Prius owner, but at least you aren’t leaving everyone else to choke in your exhaust fumes.

And, in the long-wheelbase version, presuming you have a chauffeur, you can specify a “Relaxation Pack”.

This consists of what amounts to a Business Class reclining chair that at the press of a button also moves the front passenger seat forwards and out of the way so you can sleep, enjoy some champagne from the built in cooler, watch a DVD on a large built-in ceiling screen, have numerous different types of back massage, or perhaps even do some work.

At 100kmh the sound level inside the car is a mere 60db, the lowest of any car, anywhere ever. “At 60mph, the loudest noise you can hear in this new Lexus motor car is the sound of your own breathing.” (Apologies to the late David Ogilvy.)

But if you don’t like silence you can employ the standard 16 speaker Mark Levinson "Reference Surround" sound system.

Lexus has coined its own catchword for its attention to detail: “L Finesse”, which reads to me like the product of too many meetings. It also uses the expression, “The Pursuit of Perfection”. To me, “Pursuing Perfection” would have summed it up better, but perhaps that was rejected and once rejected could not be revived. However there is no doubt that listening to every criticism of its previous LS models has LED to standards that border on the fanatical.

For example, during production, the paint is “water polished’ and any imperfection that may have existed is either eliminated, or the paint finish is rejected. There has been a lot of bad press recently for while paint, Glass’s Guide marking it down as worth £3,000 less to used buyers than black. Unfortunately that only takes account of past behaviour, because the LS600h is at its outstanding best in water-polished pure white. (The white car in the photos is the standard wheelbase version.)

Prior to driving there was some alarm at the electronically controlled electric steering, which is high ratio at low speeds, low ratio at high speeds, yet quickens up in “pre accident” scenarios. Some of us wondered if this would translate to “fear steer”.

Yet out on the road it offers a better impression of driver “feel” than any previous Lexus LS. It isn’t perfect because it isn’t linear. Electronics have taken over from castor and mechanical precision. But the car is aimed at drivers who might not happen to be as interested driving as the rest of us (mainly Americans), and the electric steering combined with the other chassis electronics might just save their lives together with anyone else’s that they might otherwise crash into. Even driving on simulated ice the car collects itself and stays under control. We certainly had no alarming moments, despite using the ferocious acceleration to the full on ordinary roads and maxing the car many times (when space and prudence allowed) on the autobahns.

I could go on and on about equipment levels. Thankfully there is no interpretation of i-drive. Instead, individual buttons control individual functions and you never get so locked into a menu you could crash into the car in front. But there is so much kit that to describe it all would take a book, so instead I’ll refer you to the equipment list below, laboriously transcribed on the plane.

To sum it up, despite the steering and the heavily intrusive ESP (of which only 30% can be switched off), this is a car I liked on all levels.

It works on logical argument for delivering 0-60 in 6 seconds, 155mph, 30mpg and 219g/km, which is almost V12 performance at V6 diesel economy.

But it’s also satisfying and so comfortable to drive. I reckon I could do 1,000 miles in a single stint without a twinge.

If my present little earner were to suddenly end, I might find myself asking, “do any potential LS600h owners need a chauffeur?”

PRICE/AVAILABILITY

Prices TBA, but likely to be in the £60k to £85k bracket for the LS600h, LS600h L and LS600h L with Relaxation Pack.

Available in the UK from 1st October 2007

Standard Spec:

7-spoke 19” x 8.0J alloy wheels with 245/45 R19 tyres

Full size alloy spare wheel and tyre

ABS

Brake Assist System (BAS)

Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)

Emergency Brake Signal

Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB)

Traction Control (TRC)

Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with cut-off switch

Variable Gear Ratio Steering (VGRS)

Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM)

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Pre-Crash Safety (PCS) system

Advanced Obstacle Detection system

Rear Pre-Crash Safety system

Driver Monitoring System

Emergency Steering Assist

Two-stage driver and front passenger airbags

Twin-chamber front passenger airbag with cut-odd switch

Driver and front passenger knee airbags

Front and rear curtain shield airbags

Rear side airbags

Thorax-Abdomen-Pelvis (TAP) front side airbags

Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) front seats

Front and outer rear seatbelt pretensioners

ISOFIX child seat mounts at outer rear seats

Audible/visible seatbelt reminder

Air suspension

Adaptable Variable Suspension (AVS)

Electric Power Steering (EPS), speed sensitive

Electronic Parking Brake (EPB)

Tyre Pressure Warning System (TPWS)

Anti-theft system with immobiliser, intrusion sensor, inclination sensor and siren

Double door locks

Auto door locking

Laminated windscreen and side window glass

Mark Levinson 19 speaker premium Hi-Fi with in-dash 6-disc DVD changer

Bluetooth connectivity

8” touch-screen Electro Multi Vision (EMV) display

Colour TFT multi-information display

DVD satellite navigation with Dynamic Route Guidance (DRG)

Steering wheel controls for audio, phone and voice control

Voice command function for audio, navigation, telephone and climate control operation

Optitron instrumentation

Parking assist sensors

Intelligent Park Assist system

Rear Seat Entertainment DVD player with roof mounted 9” screen

Smart entry and start system with keycard

Illuminated entry system with puddle lights

Illuminated front and rear roof mounted vanity mirrors

LED interior lighting

LED low beam auto levelling headlights with cleaners

HID (high intensity discharge) high beam headlights

Adaptive Cruise Control

Electric multi-adjustable steering wheel

Electric boot closer

Easy exit and entry auto-retracting steering wheel

Auto-dimming rear-view mirror

Electric windows with one touch operation

Electric rear sunshade

Sunroof

Electronic dual zone climate control with separate drive and passenger controls

Automatic recirculation mode

Clean air filter with pollen removal mode

4-zone climate control with rear left/right temperature control

Roof-mounted diffusers

Semi-aniline leather upholstery

Alcantara roof lining and pillar trim

Leather dashboard, door panels and door armrests

Heated rear seats

Air-conditioned rear seats

10-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat and headrests

8-way electrically adjustable front passenger seat and headrests

Memory function for front seats, steering wheel and door mirror with three pre-sets

Front seat lumbar support

Electrically adjustable rear headrests

Electric rear seat adjustment with memory

Electrically adjustable front seatbelt height with memory on drivers side

Heated leather and wood steering wheel

Wood trim inlays

Rear cool box

Rear centre armrest

Rear multi-function centre armrest

Auto dimming electrically adjustable heated and folding door mirrors

Easy door and boot closer

Adaptive Front Lighting System

Front foglights

LED brake, tail and licence plate lights

Rain-sensing wipers

UV and heat-insulating tinted glass

Water-repellent front side window glass

Rear Seat Relaxation Pack for 600h L comprises:

Electric reclining rear seats

Ottoman thigh and leg rest for left rear seat

Electric folding front passenger headrest

Rear left seat massage functions with remote control

Seat cushion airbag in rear left hand seat

Fixed rear centre console with wood inlay

Body temperature sensing climate control

Independent rear DVD player

More at www.Lexus.co.uk

ENGINES/TRANSMISSIONS

4,969cc V8, 4 vales per cylinder, chain drive DOHC, dual VVT-I with VVT-iE for intake: 389bhp/294PS @ 6,400rpm; 520Nm torque @ 4,000rpm.

AC Synchronous, permanent magnet electric motor max power 221bhp/224PS, max torque 300Nm

Maximum combined power 439bhp/445PS.

Electronically controlled epicyclic CVT with choice of three power settings: Hybrid for best combination power, Power for quick response; Snow for better traction in slippery conditions.

DIMENSIONS

Length: 5,030 mm (16’ 6”) 600h L 5,150mm (16’ 11”)

Width: 1,875 mm (6’ 2”) (mirrors folded)

Height: 1,480 mm (4’ 10”)

Luggage capacity: 330 litres

Fuel tank: 83 litres

Kerb weight: 2,270kg (SWB) 2,320kg (LWB 4 seats) 2,410kg (LWB 5 seats)

Turning circle: 5.7 metres 600h L: 5.9 metres

PERFORMANCE, FUEL CONSUMPTION

AND CO2 EMISSIONS

0-60 mph 6.0 seconds; 50-75 mph 4.3 seconds top speed 155 mph (electronically limited); combined mpg 30.4; CO2 emissions 219g/km. VED Band F petrol.

CONSIDER AGAINST

Audi A8, Bentley Flying Spur, BMW 7-Series (BMW Hydrogen 7), Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes S-Class, VW Phaeton.

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Interesting article.......what's wrong with 85K? Sounds pretty reasonable to me if it's actually as good as it should be........

Top spec S500 will probably be around 90K.......if a top spec LS600h is 85K, but is faster, more economical, exempt from congestion charge and hopefully better put together, doesn't seem too high a price

I had originally read that the LS600 could hit 100K, which even I thought was ridiculous.....only Mercedes seems to be able to get away with prices like that :whistling:

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Interesting article.......what's wrong with 85K? Sounds pretty reasonable to me if it's actually as good as it should be........

A lot of people hesitate at spending 50+ on a LS430 (hence, low sales compared to S class), and at 85k, I suspect you will get a handful of sales (despite it sounding a fantastic car).

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Lexus have moved on ALOT, this car is World Car of the Year! and even small % of Bentley owners are switching to this amazing car.

The top spec I understand is rumoured to be around £120k - give or take.

and what do you mean £86k for a Lexus.

Lexus is considered a better car/brand than both Mercedes and BMW, WAKE UP and stop being baised.

Top-end Lexus's are now competing with Bentley etc.

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Lexus is considered a better car/brand than both Mercedes and BMW, WAKE UP and stop being baised.

Top-end Lexus's are now competing with Bentley etc.

I love Lexus, but if I had that sort of money to spend, I'd go for a Bentley!

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I love Lexus, but if I had that sort of money to spend, I'd go for a Bentley!

Most people would but when it comes time to replace it would they get a second one?

Agree Colin. But don't forget, Maneesh is a bit more into flash and appearance than us folks with 'seny' (Catalan for common sense or 'nous')

I'd hope that Bentley have got better these days under German ownership, but then, the BMs and Mercs are still trying to catch up.

Somewhere I have a 'Car' magazine article comparing the (Ser 2 I think) LS with a Rolls, and preferring the Lexus. (Yes, folks, I can email you a copy....if I can find it)

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Bentley's are still quite bad and break down a bit and i think not as good as as they used to be the bloke my grandad lives next to (sir) had a bentley gt and he only had a little while and changed it as it was aways breaking down

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